It’s not every day you come across an Olympic athlete. Here at C-TRAN, we are proud to say that we work with one. Doug McPherson has worked at C-TRAN for the past eight and a half years. In his free time, he is a competitive powerlifter. His dedication to the sport is apparent; he practices before heading in to work a graveyard shift at C-TRAN. The practice has paid off for Doug, earning him a spot as one of two powerlifting athletes representing Washington in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games.
Doug works the graveyard shift, from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., as a janitor/hostler in C-TRAN’s Maintenance department. He’s part of the team that cleans our entire fleet every night. Powerlifting has always been in the evening, so Doug would go straight from practice to work on practice nights. Training typically takes place during the spring, meaning he has followed this routine every week since March. Many people work during the day and go to the gym at night; Doug does the opposite.
Special Olympics is a sports organization for people with intellectual disabilities that offers competition in over 30 Olympic-style individual and team sports. Doug was first introduced to Special Olympics in elementary school, but the program was eventually dropped. His mother, Margaret, became reacquainted with Special Olympics track and field when Doug was in his junior year of high school. She saw that there was a powerlifting program and thought, “oh, powerlifting, that would be good.” She says the neat thing about powerlifting is that it’s an independent sport—you’re just competing against yourself. Powerlifting divisions are based on age and weight, much like wrestling. Margaret stated, “I’m a little biased, but while I think he doesn’t have a [typical] powerlifter’s build because he’s long and lean, he does well at it.”
Not only is Doug dedicated, but he is decorated in his sport. As a member of the Clark County Bulldogs, he attended a regional powerlifting tournament in Seattle this past May, winning two bronze medals and one gold medal for an overall silver. Following the tournament, Doug traveled to the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida, from June 5-11. The Washington team, consisting of 75 athletes, 25 coaches, and support staff, marched in the opening ceremonies the day before the games started. Doug walked away from the competition as a Special Olympic medalist, winning four bronze medals for his efforts.
The USA games take place once every four years. The next games will be held in 2026 in Minnesota. A person qualifies to attend by winning gold at their state games. If you win gold at state games, you’re invited to apply to go to nationals. One man and one woman are selected to represent their state. Doug looks forward to continuing competing and, hopefully, making it to Minnesota to add to his medal collection.
When Doug was asked what his favorite part of competitive powerlifting is, his answer was all in the name—the competition.